The Knesset Immigrant Absorption Committee heard testimony on Sunday that a number of obstacles were being placed in the way of absorption of new immigrants to Judea and Samaria. It was revealed during the meeting, held in the Samarian Jewish community of Ariel, that the Birthright and Masa programs, which bring students to Israel from abroad, make sure to avoid the region. Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman and Chairman Danny Dayan of the Yesha Council, representing area Jewish communities, criticized Jewish Agency restrictions on assistance to immigrant absorption in the area, including not including Judea and Samaria in housinf fairs for immigrants. Nachman said that funds such as Shutafut (Partnership) 2000, the Rashi Fund and the Rotschild Fund are not investing in the region. Others decried the effects of the government's long building freeze in the area, which left potential immigrants with nowhere to look to live.
At the same time, Deputy Director Danny Oberman of the Nefesh B'Nefesh program said that 220 immigrants moved to the area in 2010 and a similar number is expected to do so in 2011. He said most of them will go to Ariel and the cities of Ma'aleh Adumim and Efrat.